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Hugo - Martin Scorsese


Camy

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Wonderful film. I wish it had done better at the box office -- they're a long ways away from ever breaking even.

A few things you have to know about the film:

1) the trailers make it come across as a kid's movie, about a boy who has amazing adventures. This is a misnomer. A small part of the film is about this, but that's not the main message. I think most children who see the film will be bewildered and confused, especially if they don't understand the year (1931), silent movies, and foreign culture.

2) the film is really about broken people: the orphan kid, whose life is broken; the broken automaton he's trying to fix, to somehow connect with his dead father; the broken toymaker, who tries to ignore his past life as a filmmaker; the broken police officer, who lost a leg in WWI.

3) the story is also much more about the problem of the thousands of films that are forgotten in modern times, films that have fallen apart, been burned, or otherwise destroyed, depriving us from decades of cinema history. Few people know it, but more than half of all movies made before 1950 are gone forever. And more are sitting in vaults, quietly deteriorating.

All told, it's a very complex movie, beautifully told, but it's not what I'd call a mass-market film. I saw it twice in theater, and not only is it hands-down the best 3D film I've ever seen in my life, it's probably in the Top 10 most beautiful films I've seen in the last 10 years. I've worked with Bob Richardson before (last on the Shine a Light documentary), and he's a superb artist and craftsman, and a fascinating personality.

Note this is also the same guy who shot Kill Bill and Inglorius Basterds, so he can shoot in a variety of different styles. I also worked on the movie Nixon, which looks completely different from any of these films.

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I was just bemoaning the list of films currently showing in area theaters. I understand that film studios are a business and must cater to the masses to recover production expenses, but that often means that I am faced with less than what I consider quality films. The spate of "son of" type films is usually apalling. Spinning off sequels to films that once made money is a poor way to display creativity on any level and it happens too often.

I enjoy one of a kind films like Hugo. I don't see any sequals possible there, thank goodness. But I'm sure The Pecman will back me up when I say that each element in a film comes together because of teamwork. Scorsese is an outstanding director/producer, and yet that talent depends upon the team he assembles for each element of the film. When a story flows it is because the script and the visuals have been seamlessly melded with the ability of the performers.

I was never directly involved with film production as I spent most of my early professional career on stages. But I did work to set up locations for shooting, met some very demanding people and managed to stand on the sidelines while the scenes were shot. I did enough of that to be able to relate those moments in story form. But I could understand the pressures of time and budget, the flow of work and the massive effort of personnel. All that so little old me could sit in a dark theater and enjoy the work of thousands of people. (maybe tens of thousands, did you see the credits on Lord of the Rings?)

But as I scan the list of films I see things like Battleship, a video game evolved into film. Is it any wonder that a silent film won best picture at the Oscars? The major film studios are churning out violence and sex because they sell, but they won't get my money. I look forward to seeing what the independent filmakers are doing this year and can only smile when I see the big distributors buying up these small films to show on the big screens of America.

Hugo, The Help, Super 8, and The King's Speech were just several of the films I enjoyed in the past six months. Does anyone else have suggestions? What films did you enjoy this past year? I need to add to my DVD collection.

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I see very few movies, for all the reasons given above and more. But I recently saw Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and liked it very much indeed. It's another film that probably is not mass market material, but it was a film that certainly spoke to me. And acting was superb, too, as were the technical aspects of the production. I highly recommend it.

C

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I see very few movies, for all the reasons given above and more. But I recently saw Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and liked it very much indeed. It's another film that probably is not mass market material, but it was a film that certainly spoke to me. And acting was superb, too, as were the technical aspects of the production. I highly recommend it.

C

Another film on my "must see soon" list. Thanks for the reminder.

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But as I scan the list of films I see things like Battleship, a video game evolved into film. Is it any wonder that a silent film won best picture at the Oscars? The major film studios are churning out violence and sex because they sell, but they won't get my money.

Judging by the trailer, Battleship looks like to me to be not only the worst, most derivative film of the year, but maybe of any year. Michael Bay (Transformers director) should sue.

I'm hoping that the upcoming John Carter is good -- I loved the original Edgar Rice Burroughs novels -- but the early reviews are not great...

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I had seen several extremely positive reviews of Hugo from movie and scifi fans, a few weeks ago, and I pre-ordered the movie. It's supposed to arrive soon, in time for my birthday, along with a new book by C.J. Cherryh soon after.

Hearing other very positive reviews is good news! -- Yes, everyone's said the movie wasn't marketed to the right audience, and it's far more than any one thing; hard to pigeonhole and hard, perhaps, for some people (including advertising and PR types, apparently) to get a handle on just what it is or how to say, "Go see it!" (See, "Go see it!" isn't hard, is it?) ...So I'll "Go see it" on my couch or bed, with felines in the audience too.

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Hugo is based on the children's book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" - a great book for reluctant readers. It's a very thick-looking book, but there are pages and pages at a time that are purely illustrated, with no text. It's an interesting combination of visual storytelling and a traditional novel. Almost all of the physical descriptions are shown in (very detailed) images rather than text.

If you know some reluctant readers, this will catch their attention and instill some reading confidence. The kids I hand this one to usually carry it around for a while after they've read it, just to say "Hey, look at the size of this book I read. Yeah, I'm that awesome." (And then you can tell that they're my students, because they judge awesomeness by the size of the book in one's hand. Heh.)

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Hugo is based on the children's book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" - a great book for reluctant readers. It's a very thick-looking book, but there are pages and pages at a time that are purely illustrated, with no text. It's an interesting combination of visual storytelling and a traditional novel. Almost all of the physical descriptions are shown in (very detailed) images rather than text.

Yes, the "making of" documentaries on the DVD show how they very closely reproduced the look of the book and the characters for the movie. I was floored at how closely Scorsese stuck to the book. Except for combining some characters and shortening the story a bit, it's actually not that far off from the book at all.

Again, a movie that's not to everyone's tastes, but to me, the film definitely takes you somewhere you've never been before. It's very evocative, very poignant, and has scenes that are very moving. And the kids are terrific actors -- Chloe Moretz in particular impresses me every time I see her. Her work in Kickass blew me away, and she was extraordinary in Hugo as well.

BTW, the film's star, Asa Butterfield, is also very good as well. Note the visual effects work on his eyes, which doubled the normal amount of blue in there. Very well done, but it's not what the kid looks like in real life. He's cast in the title role in the upcoming Ender's War, playing an extremely gifted, genius kid who controls a massive army of spaceships fighting alien invaders -- a very thoughtful, interesting book (written by noted homophobe Orson Scott Card, who's a rotten human but a very fine writer).

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Psst, EleCivil knows the novel, Ender's Game. -- I'd forgotten that's what Asa Butterfield is next in. I hope the movie does a good job of covering the book.

Hugo is due tomorrow. Hoping it gets here.

Still waiting for my favorite author's new book. Looks like it'll be here well after both my birthday and the official release date, but it's on pre-order.

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I'm just strolling through the thread and was suddenly struck by how lucky we are with our members. I'd invite you all around for coffee and home made scones if I lived nearer to you. Okay so some of you would want tea, we have that too.

I'm afraid the movies for me aren't the same thrill they were for me back when I was screening them in 70mm or in a 1928 cinema palace.

Reading about the enthusiasm you all have for the current movies brings me to suspect that for me it was always about putting on a show, and that's not what the projectionists job is anymore. Lace the film, set the computer, lace the fim, set the computer, queue up the hard drive, set the computer and that's all the job is now. No more excitement as I dim the lights and open the curtains. Hell there aren't even curtains in the modern cinemas.

It's okay for me though, I've got some work in an old 1940 theatre, art deco, with curtains, and wait for it, one of the largest working Wurlitzer theatre organs in the Southern hemisphere. So do the movies look better in my theatre than down at the multiplex? Probably not, I see so much repetition of plot, films made to a formula, and all with noise masquerading as music; there's only so much even a showman projectionist can do, and saving awful movies is difficult when the patrons fall asleep...both of them.

I am looking forward to seeing Hugo. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I'll need to watch at home. The Iron Lady was a film about Margaret Thatcher who I detested, played by Meryl Streep who I don't like as an actress...too cold, but she deserved her Oscar. I liked Warhorse, but really wanted Spielberg to pick up the pace a bit. The horse and the boy were terrific. Puss in Boots, I wanted to strangle, after I drowned the dancing Penguins in Happy Feet 2.

Honestly I'd rather read a story by any of you, at least I get a feeling of being entertained. I must be getting old and cranky. :stare:

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Honestly, I don't attend film theaters anymore. The patrons are rude and everything seems to be so small and uncomfortable, so are the seats. But I have had two major movie theater experiences in my life which I will share:

Washington D.C., The Uptown Theater. The opening of Star Wars, which played on a huge screen and the sound system thundered to the level of awesome, it made quite the impression. But perhaps my experience was tainted by the young man in the seat beside me. The theater held nearly a thousand, and there were only a few dozen brave souls there for the noon showing. I loved the film, but I also loved the young man.

In my childhood I lived in Tokyo. At age nine I rode the streetcar downtown to a theater whose name escapes me now. But I was off on an adventure by myself to see the opening of Journey to the Center of the Earth, the year was 1959. The film was in Cinemascope on the largest movie screen in the country, the largest I can ever remember seeing. I was very impressed. I remember sitting dead center on the first balcony which put me about level with the middle of the screen. What a wonderful experience that was.

So now I sit at home and watch films on DVD. The screen is small, but I have a clear picture and with headphones I don't miss a single word. No cell phones ringing or people talking. Hugo was great fun and I am waiting for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close to be released. Remember: No talking in my theater, and the popcorn is always fresh.

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Many of the better theatres around here have learned. They are implementing very strict no-cell-phones rules, and will kick you out immediately for infractions. Also, for talking or otherwise disturbing others. There have been improvements in seats, even the concessions. The food is still ridiculously overpriced, but the selection has vastly improved.

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I go to the theater seldom, but not because of the problems you guys relate. Of couse, just like Kansas City, everything is up to date here. Most of them now have theater seating (meaning the rows of seats are in elevated tiers) and so unrestricted views; plenty wide enough seats, which are comfortable and have arm rests between them that can be raised or lowered; rules against cell phones being on which seem to be followed; no talking rules which are also followed; and the places are clean and friendly. The food is terribly overpriced, but I fool 'em. I don't buy any.

C

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